This series of photographs entitled: “Corridors of Power” by Swiss photographer Luca Zanier are visually powerful, but also literally power-full – depicting the conference rooms, assembly halls and talking shops of power, deep within the institutions that variously structure and control so many aspects of the contemporary world, but that we rarely see.
These are the vessels and spheres of waxing and waning social, political and economic influence and their architecture is often designed to vividly express this: from the post-war pomp of the UN Assembly Hall, to the mood-music of Oscar Niemeyer’s French Communist Party Headquarters, the dark subterranean environment of the FIFA executive conference hall, or the Art Deco Looney Tunes auditorium of the New School in New York.
In these spaces the power-people hold court who can make decisions affecting us all. Yet in Zanier’s photographs they are absent, the spaces presented as empty, silent before the talking, listening or even shouting begins – an appropriately pregnant pause before our upcoming Acoustics issue!
And in an extra twist, Zanier’s images shift the power balance in the spaces, by putting us, the viewer, in the seat of power: from the viewpoint of the speaker, judge or chair, facing out into the cloud of delegates’ chairs that circle around. As Zanier explains it:
“A further pursuit of mine is to portray these spaces or rooms in a fresh astonishing manner. Most are familiar with a parliamentary hall from the perspective of the spectators’ tribune, however only a few have seen the space from the physical vantage point of the chairperson. It is exactly this view that I chose at the UN Security Council”.
These are the spaces where sometimes history turns, for as Sir Winston Churchill famously said: “To jaw, jaw is always better than to war, war.”